This year has been full of milestones, and yesterday was no different. Yesterday, I ran 10 miles for the very first time.
With 5 weeks to go until my half marathon I’m starting to feel the excitement build, I can’t wait to cross that finish line! There’s still a lot of work to do before I get there though. And these ten miles were not only a big part of that hard work but also an enormous confidence booster.
I set out at 7:30 AM to meet my friend Kara (an incredible marathon runner! ) in Central Park. The park is full of huge and relentless hills that are starting to make me feel like I can conquer anything. There are three major sets of hills in Central Park and endlessly more smaller ones. Each one with a different intimidation factor. Within the first few miles we hit Cat Hill. Where Cat Hill lacks in length it makes up for it by being hugely steep. The second set of hills (and possibly the most dreaded in Central Park) is Harlem Hill. This hill (well, hills) seems to go on forever! It twists and turns, but when it finally ends you are rewarded with the most wonderful down hill you’ve ever experienced. The last set of hills is the rolling hills, and while these are by no means as steep or relentless as the ones that come before them, some how, they are equally torturous. Each time you think you’ve reached the last one, another lies waiting in front of you.
I learn something new about myself and about running every time I take to the streets with a different runner friend. Yesterday, I learned a new technique to help deal with all of those hills. When we were starting up Cat Hill for the first time, Kara told me to look down. Not straight down, but slightly out in front. At first, I didn’t understand why she said to do that and then I realized it was an amazing way to trick your brain. By looking down, I avoided the mental factor of seeing the entire hill ahead of me. It’s amazing how running is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical one.
The miles were starting to pile up as we finished the rolling hills and as each mile went by, something pretty incredible was happening: I was running consistently at an 8:45 pace, which beats out any and all personal records I previously held by a land slide. The reason I was able to know this is because I run with the Nike+ App. This app allows me to listen to music and hear my pace and time at each mile. When the Nike Lady (as I like to call her) came through my music and said Mile 8, I finally let myself believe I was going to be able to do this. 10 miles?? Double digits?? Who am I and how did I get here? How is it possible that the girl who ate chips on the couch every night can now run ten miles? It was a very very emotional feeling to say the least.
For the last two miles we pushed our pace (well, Kara pushed my pace and I made sure to stay with her!- the beauty of running with a friend). And then all of a sudden, there we were, ten miles over and done with. 1 mile, 5K, and 10K PRS all left in the dust and just four more long runs left until my half.
To say that yesterday was a confidence booster is an understatement. My goal all along has been to try to run the half in under 2 hours, and now that goal feels attainable. Other than the four long runs, and other training runs that are left, I am also going to head to Prospect Park in Brooklyn (where the race will be held) at some point in the next few weeks to remove the fear of the unknown. With all of this preparation under my belt, I’m hoping to have an amazing experience at the half. I cannot wait to share with everyone what that day feels like. Look for that post in just five short weeks!!